Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
The wife and I are heading out to Sin City today to watch the two Kentucky games being played out there this week. It has been many years since we went to see UK play in Las Vegas — 2008-09 to be exact, Billy Gillispie’s final season as UK coach. It was fun and memorable, and the team even won both games, defeating Kansas State 74-72 and West Virginia 54-43 on consecutive nights.
Ah, memories. DeAndre Liggins, who attended Findlay Prep in Las Vegas refused to enter the game against Kansas State after not getting enough minutes to suit him, then played 27 outstanding minutes against WVU to help Kentucky to the comeback win.
What a difference 11 seasons makes. Kentucky won’t be playing in back-to-back games this time, having two days between Utah and Ohio State, but once again it is a team with something to prove after an up and down early season. Utah is not exactly figured to be Final Four timber this season, but they’re off to an 8-2 start, and have notable wins against Minnesota (who took down #1 Ohio State the other night), BYU in overtime, and Nevada on the road. Notable losses are a head-scratching blowout at Coastal Carolina and a close, neutral-site loss to Tulane.
The upshot is that Utah should be a good test for Kentucky Wednesday outside of the friendly confines of Rupp Arena. However, Ohio State on Saturday represents a whole different level of challenge that will give us a good early-season read on what kind of progress the Wildcats have made since curious case of Evansville.
If you’re heading out west, hope to see you there. If not, I know you’ll be up late watching the Wildcats at home, or at your favorite watering hole.
Tweet of the Morning
So that Evansville loss keeps looking odder.— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 17, 2019
Lost by 26 to 3-7 Jacksonville State pic.twitter.com/zn4uRp6q5y
- The football recruiting world is going to go crazy over the next 48 hours, according to Nick Roush at KSR. Could Kentucky have its best recruiting class ever?
- To absolutely nobody’s surprise (I hope, at least), Max Duffy and Lynn Bowden Jr. were named AP first-team All-Americans. I have been expecting this for a while.
- Because ... yeah.
- These UK freshmen could stake a claim to playing time in 2020 during the practices for the Belk Bowl.
- The first NET rankings of the season don’t think much of Kentucky so far.
- Kentucky stands 8th in the latest AP poll. Also, they are 8th over at KenPom.com
- Immanuel Quickley is coming into his own at Kentucky.
- Kentucky will actually play a younger team when it faces Utah.
- The next test for Kentucky’s front court? Performing well against quality opponents.
- The origins of Kentucky’s 2021 and 2022 home-and-home series against Michigan, the first of which will be played in London, England.
- One player from Kentucky makes USA Today’s “Best of the Decade” list. Not hard to guess who that is ...
Other Kentucky sports
- Probably as true in basketball as football, today’s recruits don’t remember your last NCAA championship unless it was after 2008.
- Poll Attacks lays waste to an AP voter who moved Purdue up to #11 after they lost to a weak Nebraska team. What a maroon!
- North Carolina falls out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 106 consecutive weeks. Can calls for Ol’ Roy’s retirement be the next thing you hear in Chapel Hill?
- The Courier-Journal asks -- is this basketball season particularly crazy? I’m so old, I can authoritatively answer “No.”
Other sports news
- Erik Daniels has hired former UK women’s star Makayla Epps and former UK men’s player Antwain Barbour as assistants for the Woodford County girls basketball team. That’s some serious bragging rights for a girls team about the basketball chops of their coaches.
- Speaking of ex-Cats, Jodie Meeks has his high school number retired.
- Another day, another exoplanet. Scientist can’t keep up.
- Space Force has gone from a joke to a reality.
- How to use quantum entanglement for long-distance communication. Ansible, anyone?